a tabby kitten sleeps under a chair

Why do cats sleep so much?

  • Cats sleep for an average of 15 hours a day
  • Cats are ‘crepuscular’, meaning they are most active at dawn and dusk
  • Cats like to sleep in areas where they feel safe, so you might spot them up high or curled up in a confined space

Although our moggies are domesticated and live alongside us in our homes, they still retain many of their feline ancestors’ natural tendencies. Domestic cats are descended from African wildcats, a predatory species that hunts for food. Cats are instinctively crepuscular – which means they are most active at dawn and dusk, when hunting opportunities are rife and there’s enough light for them to see well. All that hunting makes them sleepy, and they need to build up their energy reserves so they can get back to stalking, jumping and pouncing the next day.

Just because your cat is domesticated, it doesn’t mean they will ignore this genetic predisposition, even if food is readily available. But they will usually adapt to your routine.

Cats sleep for an average of 15 hours a day, but can nap for up to 20 hours in a 24 hour period. They often sleep when the house is quiet and grow more active when people arrive home. They may sleep at night, but will often still wake at least a couple of times. 

Steps you can take to help your cat adapt to your own routine include giving them a warm bed, using toys to entice curiosity during the day and playing with them yourself in the evening before you go to bed.

— Page last updated 11/09/2019

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